Alabama vs. LSU: Preview, Prop Pick and Prediction

Field Level Media

November 02, 2023 at 2:29 pm.

Call it an elimination game in the SEC West.

That’s definitely the case for the LSU Tigers, who can’t afford a third loss if they hope to be considered for the College Football Playoff.

Make no mistake, Saturday’s matchup with Alabama in Tuscaloosa is vital for both schools. This classic spotlights LSU’s dynamic offense vs. Alabama’s physical defense, and LSU coach Brian Kelly is here for it.

“I think it’s the best defense in all three phases,” Kelly said. “It’s the challenge that an offense like ours is up for and will have to play their best. But that’s what this is about … our offense will have to be at their best when their best is needed.”

If LSU can somehow solve the Alabama mystique, it would pull the Tigers into a tie with the Tide and a clear path to an SEC title game showdown.

We have stats, news, quotes and betting predictions for our college football (betting) game of the week.

–Kickoff: 7:45 p.m., ET
–Television: CBS
–Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
–Point Spread, Total: Alabama -3; Total 60.5

Bookmakers posted Alabama as a touchdown or more favorite when the opening lines were released, but that number has been bet down to a field goal at most outlets.

With the Tide supporters trying to be patient and optimistic about quarterback Jalen Milroe, the clock is ticking – and Milroe needs to start carrying Alabama when the team needs him.

LSU, with a more seasoned, decisive quarterback, has the positional edge here. Jayden Daniels simply has to play the game of his season to lift the Tigers past the Tide.

Daniels can make history, too, in a sense, by leading a victory. He would become the first starting QB to stop Alabama – with Coach Saban at the helm – in consecutive seasons.

Last season in Baton Rouge, La., Alabama – a 13.5-point favorite – scored a touchdown on the first possession of overtime, but Daniels ran 25 yards for a touchdown and passed for a winning two-point conversion in the 32-31 victory.

“He killed us last year,” Saban said.

Daniels has the legs to do it again, averaging more than 8 yards per rushing attempt. He has the arm, too, but needs to keep his jersey clean – and that could be the Tigers’ main concern.

Alabama’s typically ferocious defensive front can, and likely will, pressure Daniels into broken plays. And Daniels isn’t quite so effective when he’s under duress.

The Crimson Tide boast the fourth-highest sack percentage and rank 14th in pressure rate.

Milroe, on the other hand, has the arm to devastate a depleted LSU secondary with his signature deep ball. One or two long-distance strikes can serve as a gut punch.

Milroe averages 10.7 yards per pass attempt, has executed 17 big-time throws and has a 98.7 Pro Football Focus passing grade on attempts of 20-plus yards through the air.

Several projection models have Alabama closer to a 5.5 or 6-point favorite, so Tide backers have some cushion.

The pick: Alabama 36, LSU 27
The bet: Alabama -3.


And Alabama certainly has its collective eyes on the College Football Playoff.

If Coach Saban’s crew runs the table and beats a still-unbeaten Georgia in that conference title game, the Alabama strength of schedule almost certainly will be enough for another Crimson Tide appearance in the final four.

As if Alabama needed any extra motivation.

Quick comparisons: The Tide offense is nothing special statistically. LSU is No. 1 in the country (47 points per game; 552 yards per game).

Alabama is second in the SEC in points allowed (16.5) and third in yards allowed (306) per game.

LSU’s defense played poorly early in the season, especially in shootout losses to Florida State (45-24) and Ole Miss (55-49).

The unit has played better of late but will be missing several players Saturday.

Starting defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo likely will miss the rest of the regular season.

“Clearly, we would love to have Wingo in the lineup,” Kelly said, “but we are built for injuries.”

Three of the Tigers’ top defensive backs will miss this game because of injury, and LSU might have to endure having three true freshmen in the secondary against the Tide.

“This has developed into a rivalry game because they’re always ranked, we’re always ranked, and it’s always a big game relative to what happens in our division. It’s an important game for both teams.”

–Alabama coach Nick Saban

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